So Riot has announced that the jungle (among other things) will be receiving another remake. To make things even better they say it will be a hybrid of season 1 and season 2 jungle. I can say that the season 1 jungle was far superior than the one we have simply because it forced roles to be more defined. The jungler role right now was becoming stagnant because you would only get a few specific champions to jungle and they'd be pretty much relegated to the role of support or, if they scaled well with just tank items, the tank role.
What some may have not noticed yet is that the season 2 jungle was also affecting the lanes pretty severely. The "top" laner now needed to be someone who could survive a 2 vs 1 situation and all those lane swapping mechanics. In order to deal with this an early level 2 was required and thus the jungler had to surrender part of their first clear. The only reason one team would risk this is because they picked a champion that could survive a 2 vs 1 and give them the blue buff to help them do this. Of course this was easy to do since the blue buff was pathetically weak unlike before.
Season 2 started off with a good number of potential junglers and characters that couldn't manage the jungle before could now run around and handle it. Some of the old junglers were beyond godlike in the new jungle and were promptly nerfed like Rammus. We had a good number of junglers. We switched from using junglers like Udyr, Skarner (at the time), and Trundle to using junglers like Maokai, Lee Sin and Rammus en masse instead. The fast(er) clear junglers and controllers were dead for awhile. The ganking junglers reigned supreme. The farmer jungler died out. The jungler that carried via farm was dead and for awhile the jungler that carried through ganking was dominant.
Of course Riot doing what Riot does broke the ganking jungler's legs (except Maokai) and started the weakening process. They were still strong and could obtain gold but of course they were nerfed. There was one key thing here though - boots weren't being purchased by everyone completely yet. Almost at the same time champions with better mobility were being released and players were started to purchase boots as their first item. This started the mobility creep and making it even harder for some gankers to obtain their murder gold. Though to be fair gankers too started taking boots instead of cloth or some offense item like Doran's Blade but some junglers were harmed pretty badly by this such as Trundle and Udyr. They can still gank but the difficulty of their ganks skyrocketed. They used to be able to take advantage of laners due to the massive speed difference they'd be able to create but it no longer was something they could cause.
The season dragged on and slowly but surely some junglers were phased out. It was found to be better that the laners take the jungle then the jungle themselves so anyone who could manage with few resources or scale with just tank items was preferred. This is where junglers like Dr. Mundo (after his buffs) became powerful. He could become a powerful tank/bruiser by purchasing nothing but tank items. Any jungler who could survive solely on gold items and aura items (which have multiplying values) were also favored like Maokai, Nautilus and Nunu. But how would you feel if I said that the season 2 jungle evolved in a way that killed control junglers as well?
Season 2 is ending and the aftermath of the jungle remake is that there is no diversity in the jungle anymore. Jungle Nunu became powerful much akin to what he used to be but control jungling is basically dead right now in competitive. You know how control jungling still exist? The laners just take the camps themselves and the jungler doesn't have anything to invade. The jungle is constantly empty. The buffs are even more primarily contested by the laners than the junglers themselves. Nunu and Lee Sin, two formerly powerful control junglers, lost their luster. Again only junglers that could do that and accomplish everything else could stay so Dr. Mundo was one invader type that could still do the stealing tactics. That said the choices of champions for the jungle were strangled once more.
Aside from a few different picks here and there from players we know just love certain champions (Diamond's Lee Sin) we only saw a few junglers in the jungle this entire tournament. We saw Skarner (when not banned), Maokai, Dr. Mundo and Shen most of the time with a few Cho Gath, Shyvana and Alistar - though I feel if the teams who used them didn't lose we'd have seen them more. So what did these characters have in common? They're bulky champions who can survive being starved on gold and run around with an oracles clearing wards and being a nuisance. However none of these, aside from some early game power, are fighters. I do give credit to Skarner and Shyvana's high damage but to be frank we didn't have any junglers that just tear teams apart. Junglers like Nocturne, Lee Sin and Jarvan were phased out. Junglers like Hecarim would never get the chance to exist because of his farm demand. Then Riot announced the plans to remake the jungle and bring it similar to how it was in season 1.
There is no doubt in my mind that changing to a jungle akin to that of season 1 is going to cause a wave of balance issues everywhere. I'm certain junglers are going to get utterly screwed like Nautilus but rest assured they will ultimately be fine. Junglers may have to switch to something other than boots starts and I'm all up for that. This is going to bring the jungle back to how it used to be. Diverse, dangerous and basically ganglands. If the gold is enough that it makes it seem like another lane then the farmer jungler type is back. You'll see Tryndamere and Gangplank again and even Warwick! They said single target junglers are going to have a much better time.
People are forgetting one of the biggest things about the remake. It will dictate which champions need to be buffed and which need to be reworked. The reason Riot didn't give any buffs (or nerfs) to champions yet is because they wanted to see how they'd fare in the new jungle. This is similar to how it was in the first rework. Riot wanted to see if certain characters would improve with the new jungle. So if Tryndamere, who used to love the old jungle (as his old self), fares well in the season 3 jungle with the increased gold then he'll be left alone and if he fails then he'll be buffed. Carry junglers are going to be indirectly buffed by the remake (if the gold it gives is impactful) and the triad of junglers will be reborn. Coincidentally the only carry jungler I can think of that will suffer is Master Yi - he actually was better in the new jungle but he was simply a fragile ass character. Lastly I think Dr. Mundo is going to become rather insane considering he used to be one of the most powerful junglers in the old jungle (before they nerfed him to hell) because of his cleaver and he's wickedly fast now. I can only imagine him farming up a storm and just becoming too tanky to kill really quickly.
This is something people need to understand. Some characters are not bad at all. Some characters are in fact very powerful but just have difficulty finding some means to be enabled. There was a time when Leona and Blitzcrank did not exist in the game because sustain support was incredibly broken. Once they gutted sustain support did kill lanes become more plausible and thus Leona and Blitzcrank became enabled. The jungle used to be a means for certain junglers to become enabled without risking being torn apart in a lane or simply because you wanted two champions and, while both can jungle, one is a better jungler. This applies to everything in the game. Undervalued champions right now can become enabled if certain conditions are met or allowed while even amazing champions can be disabled if certain conditions occur. Top lane Malphite? Send Swain and not only will Malphite be torn to shreds but Swain will be given basically a free lane. Malphite's team can accept his doomed top lane or still enable him by throwing him into the jungle last minute. Basically if you were to remove the means which disable certain characters or give more means to enable them you can give them viability in the game.
Riot also announced jungler tailored items and all we can do right now is speculate on what they are. I actually hope that there aren't too many items that have jungle specific effects. In my opinion that would be downright stupid. The worst thing Riot could do is add more items to the game but end up forcing certain items to be bought. I hate that. I would really be disappointed if an item ends up being released that everyone must purchase. I'm sure some fans of my videos could recall how much I loathed having to purchase Wriggle's Lantern. That being said I'm hoping that jungle tailored items just means economic items with hybrid stats. We need more build routes for cheap items that add offense or defense along with other utilitarian stats for a price that junglers can afford. At least that would be if the gold in the jungle is on the lower end. In truth junglers need offensive items with cooldown reduction sort of like Ghostblade. All we can do now is just be patient though. I do remember a few jungle items that were being tested on when I was a tester but I can only imagine what else they have.
I'm actually very excited for this. One of my friends worried that the game would become super boring and stale but I have to disagree. My friend believes that a jungler will just farm all day and never do anything but he forgets one of the most badass roles in season 1. The control jungler who focused solely on annihilating the enemy jungler but died out in season 2 because of how badly this would put them behind. There was nothing more epic than having a jungler on your team who's sole purpose was to hunt the enemy jungler and focused on killing them and forced the enemy team to save them or just surrender to his onslaught. We'd have super aggressive gankers that would force their opponent out of the jungle as they desperately need to aid the laners. We'd have lane picks that are considered unsafe but would work because the jungler could give assistance that resonates in waves or the lane pick was a proper pick vs the enemy jungler. You'd be able to see Nasus top lane because, while he has issues with some laners, after a certain point in time Nasus becomes an unmovable wall. He has a hard time reaching that because the enemy jungler would constantly bother him but what if the enemy team picked a farmer who won't bother him or his team picked a jungler that would hover around to protect him? Jungle picks (and some lane picks) won't just be "pick x champion because he's good" - they may now be "pick x champion because they picked y champion alongside z champion." I am hoping the potential diversity in the jungler choices resonates into potential lane diversity as well.
Now take some of what I say lightly. We still don't know much. Riot even said they'd be reworking some summoner spells, adding more items and some balance changes and we don't exactly know how the jungle is going to be. All we know is that the jungle is going to be a hybrid of season 1 and season 2. So everything I've said up to this point and what I will write following this is just speculation. That said, assuming the changes aren't too dramatic and are closer to season 1, there are some junglers I think will be incredibly happy with these changes.
Tryndamere - I am just incredibly happy for his potential to return as a pick. He's one of the few true jungle carries in the game. Yeah the mobility creep does suck and I may be giving too much credit to his old self (which was better) but one can hope. In season 1 he had the power to completely snowball just by farming in the jungle. He was incredibly fast and would start farming it at a pace that would actually put him ahead of the laners. Of course this is where the enemy team has to step in and knock him out of the jungle but having this ticking bomb as a choice for jungler is awesome and could potentially lead to having utility AD carries like Ashe and Varus come about seeing as Tryndamere will be the one melting people - unless he's kited to hell and back of course.
Cho Gath - He's always been a very powerful jungler but no one paid any attention to him. In season 1 he had ungodly sustain but he wasn't a jungle carry and he was better left as a laner. That said he monster has strong AoE and strong single target damage along with the ability to keep the itemization power that will be stripped from other junglers. If the jungle is to become more dangerous than before then a lot of junglers will no longer be able to take boots or else they'll take a massive beating. Cho Gath could jungle in the old jungle NAKED and this was when it was truly painful. The season 3 jungle, we are told, won't be as painful as season 1 but that still gives Cho Gath an advantage over plenty of other junglers. Then let's not forget how much of a pain a farmed Cho Gath can be.
Lee Sin and Maokai - I lump these two together because there was never a time they were truly weak in any of the jungles. Maokai was one of the fastest junglers in the old jungle and one of the fastest in the season 2 jungle. He was far better in the old jungle as he too had item supremacy and was fast with ungodly ganks. Then comes one of the gods of Season 1. Lee Sin could build absolutely anything and had more paths open to him than any other jungler in the game. This made him the ultimate jungle duelist and invader. His speed was also a lot better in Season 1 than it was in Season 2. These two are, without any doubt in my mind, going to be some of the more successful junglers initially (pending the items aren't weird).
Diana - I firmly believe she would have been very powerful if she was released during season 1. For starters that shield is one of the most godly things I've ever seen for jungling and she is able to jungle at speed close to some of the fastest junglers right now and jungle with the efficiency of a bruiser jungler. She has the build diversity of an AP character and thus can be super economic. If she existed in season 1 I could have seen her be one of the few junglers that could start boots or regrowth pendant and just farm up a storm and go on a murdering spree. Her shield will give her all the sustain she'll need and her kit give her the means to farm up similar amounts to that of a mid laner and hell he's a pretty good ganker at level 6 against certain laners.
Now I know a few junglers that aren't going to be as strong though a few may still be used because the jungle enables them. Also a few junglers are just going to outright suffer now.
Every gimmick jungler - Pretty much the jokey junglers I liked to use like Jayce are going to suffer pretty damn hard. They already had super poor sustain in the weak ass season 2 jungle and now you'll probably have to force the hell out of them to jungle. I am sure some may be still be able to pull it off but it end up being more work than it's worth.
Nautilus - This guy already gets his ass kicked in the season 2 jungle even with a leash. His shield is his clearing speed but as soon as it gets knocked off he's slow as hell and fragile. The newly powered up monsters are no doubt going to slap that shield off a lot quicker making his life miserable. He might be able to manage with cloth + 5 (but barely) and even then he'll have to suffer his abysmal movement speed and the severe vulnerability to invaders. Coincidentally, Sejuani will actually fare better than him as her clearing tools aren't affected like Nautilus.
Alistar - Now he could function in the season 1 jungle but let us not forget he's basically been butchered since then. He's a far cry from what he used to be and now they're buffing the jungle to deal more damage. Alistar is not a farmer - he's a ganker. He's really bad at clearing and this I feel may be one of the biggest nerfs to jungle Alistar. He may be forced to alter his build in a gimmicky way and he may no longer be able to take boots if he just gets manhandled in the jungle though admittedly he can try for level 2 ganks still though god help him if a duelist finds and kills him or counter ganks him.
Shen - This is up in the air actually. I mean the fact that leashes exist is great but he's so damn slow now and he's just going to get slower. If duelists become a big thing again then he'll be back in hell. I can't say much about him but I have it in mind that he'll be relying more on his infinite jungling than ever before.
Hecarim - Now this one is also up in the air but hear me out. Hecarim is a weird jungler and he's surely untested in the old jungle. His clearing is ungodly awful in the first few levels because of how bad his early ranks of his abilities are. I can only imagine how worse they'll fare vs beefed up monsters. He also gets his ass beat even in the season 2 at least in the first clear because of this. This could become a huge glaring weak spot for him and I'm wondering if he can overcome that. Aside from that the increase experience and gold will do him wonders. We may actually see him being played.
Anyways I'm incredibly exited to hear about the jungle remake. I've always held that the season 1 jungle was better but needed tweaks and that season 2 went through phases of good and bad to ultimately being stagnant and boring - at a competitive level at least.
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